Another Bird Story

May 26, 2014

Western Bluebird Babies

Last year, about this time, I was enjoying keeping tabs on a hummingbird nest in our backyard. It became a highlight of my season for so many reasons. Although once the babies flew (or more like burst) the coop, the nest deteriorated and has not been rebuilt or re-inhabited, we have had a new species appear. For the first time since we’ve lived in this house, a family of Western Bluebirds have moved in. A birdhouse that has hung vacant for over 10 years is now being put to good use.

Meet mama:

Mama Bluebird

Meet papa:
Papa Bluebird
Both parents are working tireless around the clock to keep the family nurtured and nourished and are very protective (hence the daily dive-bombings from Papa aimed at our dogs and even us, depending on how close we get).  From what I can tell, there’s at least 3 small mouths to feed, maybe more.

I think I’ll be treating myself to another lens rental again for the joyous occasion. That said, I’m pretty sure there will be more photos to follow.

In Response to Reality Reframed

May 13, 2014

When it comes to blogging (or almost anything else for that matter) you never know when something you put out there might resonate with people. Beauty, joy, excitement, adventure? Resources, contacts, discounts, giveaways? Lessons, insights, advice, inspiration? Different things speak to different people. There’s no telling what exactly might catch someone’s eye, spark action, or deeply move someone but I can say (from experience) that authenticity is a good start. Brené Brown says that “Authenticity…is about the choice to show up and be real. The choice to be honest. The choice to let our true selves be seen.” (From The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are) And this is exactly what made me choose to share my first Reality Reframed post with words AND pictures. I just wanted to tell/show the truth.

So, if it’s about truth, then why not just show the reality? Why bother with the reframed? For me, the reframed is just as true and authentic as the reality because it captures how I choose to see my life and then use my camera lens to transform something that might seem unsightly into something beautiful. It’s a process that has become a practice and it keeps me hopeful and grateful. So, in a way, I can’t really show one without the other.

But, even with the reframe, hitting publish wasn’t/isn’t exactly easy. It’s never easy to share, let alone publish, something that makes you feel vulnerable. Admitting my clutter trouble here and there has been pretty  liberating, but it still doesn’t mean I don’t struggle with feeling overly-exposed. Never the less, the response I’ve gotten from sharing my reality and my reframe has been so positive (encouraging, comforting, kind, supportive) it is actually helping diminish the shame I’ve carried around with all my other “stuff”. I hope that by continuing to be honest, I might help others feel free to do the same. When it comes to this crazy, messy, cluttered (aka authentic) life, it’s always nice to know we’re not alone.

Reality Reframed boxed to beauty

Reality Reframed a tipping point

Reality Reframed table top tray


I would love to hear your thoughts. Please feel to share (post links, pictures, etc). Here’s to more truth telling!

Day in the Life

May 9, 2014

Journey indeed! A Day in the Life May 2014

I’m always excited by the images I take when participating in project like Ali Edwards’ Day in the Life. I think it must be a combination of having an “assignment” to complete, being challenged creatively and mixing things up a bit that helps makes the magic. I decided to tote my DSLR around with me yesterday, which in and of itself is something I haven’t done in a while. Sometimes I forget how much I love my 50mm Compact Macro lens. *insert dreamy sigh* When processing the images, I opted to convert the entire day’s story into black and white. I just wanted to do something a little different. I’m pleased with the results and am so grateful I did it. The shots I take for Day in the Life or Week in the Life are images I wouldn’t normally take without the encouragement from projects like these. Although I shoot a lot…A LOT…sometimes you just need a little something extra to inspire you. Disclaimer: I haven’t ever actually printed or Project Life’d the shots I’ve taken for DITL or WITL but I’m working up to the idea. After all, I’ve started with Project Life finally so it’s the natural next step.

Here’s what my day looked like yesterday (and most days):

01 Morning Day in the Life May 2014

02 Lunches Day in the Life May 2014

03 Dogs Day in the Life May 2014

04 Day in the Life May 2014

05 Day in the Life May 2014

07 Day in the Life May 2014

07a Day in the Life May 2014

08 Day in the Life May 2014

06 Day in the Life May 2014

09 Day in the Life May 2014

10 Day in the Life May 2014

11 Day in the Life May 2014

12 Day in the Life May 2014

13 Day in the Life May 2014

I told myself I would shoot the whole day and I did. Yes, it’s true that the last shot I captured was of the pizza boxes. After getting up, making lunches, getting the kids up and out the door even earlier than usual (my daughter had an early AP test), walking the dogs, getting my own work done, printing pictures, making Mother’s Day cards, picking kids up, getting more of my own work done (although it’s never really done), playing in a parents vs. kids soccer scrimmage (oh, yes I did), we had pizza for dinner and I promptly fell asleep on the couch, watching the Duck’s game (we won!). True story.

Have you ever committed to take pictures of your life from sunrise to sunset? Were you surprised at the kinds of magically mundane moments you captured? It certainly is a fantastic way to Elevate the Everyday, don’t you think?

Breaking Barriers (and Other Things my Grandfathers Done)

May 7, 2014

When I tell people that my grandfather is a hot rod legend, I get a lot of curious looks. Legend? Hot rods? I know, it is curious. When people—in the ‘hot rodding’ know—ask his name, they are floored.

It’s a funny thing growing up hearing stories about your grandparent’s lives; it’s hard to imagine that they have a life outside of being (in my case) “Papa”. Fast forward to hearing these stories now as an adult and they take on a whole new meaning. When it comes to my grandfather Alex Xydias (Papa Alex) our family has been fortunate enough to have many of his stories documented for us. From articles to books, TV shows to documentaries, his inspiring story has been told in so many ways. And what’s even more lucky is that at 92 years old, he is still sharing stories—hell, he is still driving his roadster—AND is able to enjoy all accolades he deserves. Founder of the So Cal Speed Shop (1946), first to break 200 mph land speed record, film maker (The Hot Rod Story), etc. etc, “our Papa’s famous”, my girls like to brag. Indeed.

Photo of movie poster by my sister Jessica Fuselier

Photo of movie poster by my sister Jessica Fuselier

Tonight at 8pm on Nat Geo Channel the new documentary Breaking Barriers airs. My grandfather is one of the 3 incredibly inspiring men being featured in this movie that goes way beyond racing cars. My family and I had the privilege of seeing an early screening at the Petersen Automotive Museum the other night so I am confident when I say that Breaking Barriers is about passion, determination, creativity, courage and drive (pun intended).

Sponsored by Pennzoil, created by the Bandito Brothers, hosted by Tim McGraw and featuring Alex Xydias, Craig Breedlove, John Hennessey, Breaking Barriers is a fantastic film about the magic that can happen when you pour your heart and soul into something you believe in.

Elevate the Everyday in Any Language

May 5, 2014

Elevate the Everyday Foreign Editions Available

Yesterday I got a package in the mail from my publisher.  What a wonderful surprise! Needless to say, I’m over the moon about seeing my book Elevate the Everyday: A Photographic Guide to Picturing Motherhood is now available in several different languages. Here’s the list of the languages/editions that the book is being offered in so far:

English (US / Canada)
Simplified Chinese
English (UK / ANZ )
Elevate the Everyday Foreign Editions
Is it just me, or is this super-exciting and totally cool? My family and I pored over each issue last night and had so much fun rediscovering the book in so many languages.
Fun Fact: The word “blog” in most languages is still “blog”, with the occasional “bloga” or “blogu”.  That fascinates me.
And while I’ve got you here, hypnotized by the intrigue of distant lands and exotic languages, might I remind you that Elevate the Everyday: A Photographic Guide to Picturing Motherhood
(in ANY language) would make a fabulous Mother’s Day Gift. Available at Amazon or your local bookstore (Barnes and Noble for instance). And if you are by chance looking for a foreign edition, please leave comment here or email me and I can try to help you find what you’re looking for.